Carleton has a number of initiatives and student organizations to ensure that all aspects of our food systems are ethical and sustainable. Each year, we work with the Real Food Alliance to analyze the amount of our food sourced from conventional sources, versus ‘real food’ categories, some of which comes from our student-run organic farm. We also run a chapter of the Food Recovery Network, where students recover uneaten food from the dining halls every day to donate to local food shelves.

Tomatoes from the Carleton Student Organic Farm
Tomatoes from the Carleton Student Organic Farm

Both environmental justice and food justice have a place-based focus; are health related; and focus on corporate dominance and system-related issues, the empowerment of community members and the development of sustainable and livable communities. Environmental justice and food justice both seek to alter power relations at the root of the social and ecological problems.

Elizabeth Hoover, in The Carletonian, Feb 2020

Real Food Calculator

As defined by the Real Food Challenge, real food can be community-based, ecologically sound, humanely raised, and/or fairly procured. RFC sets the guidelines for what qualifies food into one or more of these categories.

The Real Food Calculator is a tool used by a team of students representing the Sustainability Office, Center for Community and Civic Engagement, and Bon Appétit to determine how much real food Carleton purchases, and to look into ways to shift purchasing toward real food.

Food Recovery Network

The Food Recovery Network is a CCCE program bringing together student volunteers, Bon Appétit, and local Rice County organizations. By donating uneaten food from dining halls after meals, the program decreases food waste on campus while simultaneously addressing hunger within the local community. Since its founding in January 2014, the Food Recovery Network has donated over 10,000 lbs of food to its end user.

Student Organic Farm

The Carleton Farm, a student-run 1.5 acres organic farm, strives to grow food in sustainable and experimental ways. It boasts drip irrigation and a hoop house, among other innovations. The produce is sold to our campus dining halls and the profits pay summer farm interns. The project is in partnership with the Sustainability Office, Bon Appetit, the Biology Department, Grounds, the Arb, Center for Community and Civic Engagement, and the Environmental Studies Department.

Farm Internship Information

The Carleton Student Farm Internship provides a unique opportunity to learn about sustainable farming practices by managing an organic farm on your own.

As a farm intern, you must be prepared to contribute a lot of time and energy before, during, and after the growing season. Interns will also attend the yearly MOSES Conference (Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service). This is the largest event about organic and sustainable farming in the U.S. and it brings together over 3400 farmers.

The summer internship is a paid 40 hour/week position for 11 weeks, and a few hours each term during the academic year. Winter and Spring Term, involves attending meetings, mapping out the farm, ordering seeds, and starting to plant. A biology faculty advisor and the Sustainability Program Coordinator will guide you through this process. During the summer, your time will be spent planting, weeding, harvesting, and selling produce to Bon Appetit.

Fall Term responsibilities include harvesting, organizing volunteer days, preparing the land for winter, and getting ready to hire and train next year’s interns. This internship requires an immense amount of responsibility and commitment. It is perfect for anyone looking to challenge themselves and to learn about farming, business management, education, and self-discipline. Did we mention it is very fun? Because it is SO fun and you get to eat lots of yummy veggies!

There are very few internships where you are given an acre of land and YOU are the engine behind the operation. Applications for the coming harvest season are available at the end of Fall term, hiring happens at the beginning of Winter term.

Dining Services / Bon Appétit

The Sustainability Office has a long-standing relationship with Bon Appétit. Their long list of sustainability commitments makes them a great partner in achieving our goals and providing delicious, local foods in the dining halls.